Remember growing up and watching your great grandparents in their gardens, picking their bounty and setting some aside to jar? This was the homesteading mindset of those who experienced the world wars, yes, but a practice also desired to be able to enjoy an off-season harvest at any time. Now, in this crumbling economy and uncertain times, it is a way of life for a lot of Americans. Do you have a root cellar? Here are some great ideas for food storage and more…
(Natural News) Your survival stockpile is a crucial part of your emergency preparedness plans, especially if you want to stock up on enough food, water and other supplies for your family. Make the most of your basement or a spare room by turning it into a root cellar for food storage. (h/t to ReadyNutrition.com)
What is a root cellar?
A root cellar is a storage location that uses the natural cooling, insulating and humidifying properties of the earth to store food. You can store fruits and vegetables from your home garden or the local farmers’ market in a root cellar, especially if your area frequently experiences power outages.
Now, root cellars are making a comeback among modern preppers because they can prevent food from freezing during the winter. Root cellars can also keep food cool during the summer, which prevents spoilage.
You can also use a root cellar to store jars of canned or pickled vegetables, canned meats and the bulbs or rhizomes of perennial flowers for your garden. Additionally, a root cellar can be used to store wine, beer, or other homemade alcoholic beverages. (Related: Upcycling for preppers: How to turn a broken freezer into a mini root cellar.)
Tips for starting a root cellar
If you want your root cellar to work properly, it must be able to hold a temperature of 32 to 40 F (0 to 4.5 C) and a humidity level of 85 to 95 percent. Unfortunately, this means you may need to look at other options if you are in a warm, southern climate since the root cellar may not work properly.
If you already have a dark underground area on your homestead, your work is almost over. If you don’t, you need to build your root cellar in a location away from places with a high water table or a septic system.
Look for a close and easily accessible location. If your area experiences harsh winters, build your root cellar under a garden shed so you don’t have to remove snow to access it once winter comes.
If you are building the root cellar yourself, the best method is to use the foundation walls on the northeast corner of the site as the two sides of the root cellar. Then, build the other two walls in the basement with stud and board.
You need to insulate the interior walls, ceiling and door along with any pipes or ducts to keep the heat out. The root cellar will also need a ventilation system that allows cool, fresh air from the outside to be brought into the room so stale air can be exhausted. This will help prevent mold and mildew.
If you already have a crawlspace, consider using it for a root cellar. The concrete foundation will provide the “walls” for the structure.
Use what you have and if you don’t have ideal space, dig horizontally into the side of a hill on your homestead.